My Advice to the GOP Convention
All that being said, I have been watching the GOP convention. And as someone who is sympathetic to many GOP candidates, may I offer some advice, just as an armchair pundit?... Loosen up!
I know I'm certainly not the world's greatest speaker. And I also know I can be a little critical sometimes. But I've got to be honest. Many of the speakers I've seen/heard have just annoyed the stuffing out of me. Everything is too scripted. Too stiff. Too robotic. Some of you will not like this, but I could only take two minutes of Ann Romney, and I had to turn it off. I'm sure she is an incredibly lovely and intelligent woman. But I just couldn't stand the fake smile, the forced lines, etc.
And even Paul Ryan wasn't much better. Everyone today seems to think his speech was great, and maybe I'm just way off base, but I did not think it was good. Again... fake, forced, robotic. There was one point in his speech where you could see a glimmer of his actual personality peep out, and it was good! But it was quickly gone, and then back to the script.
I don't entirely blame the speakers for this. We live in the age of the sound byte. As we have recently seen in Missouri, one slip of the tongue can be pulled out of its context, played over and over, and used as a stick to beat you (as Ed Stetzer would say) like a low-hanging pinata on Cinco de Mayo. Speakers are scared to death to leave the script! To show personality! And what's the result?... Cheesy speeches and a convention hall that, for the most part, (at least on television) seems pretty flat.
But be assured of this... When the other party has their convention here in a few days, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama will take that stage with swag. And they will work the room. And they will have fun with their speech. And you better believe their convention hall will be rocking.
So what? Am I saying style is more important than substance? Of course not! (At least not to me. Now as for the "undecided voter" that's another story. I get the feeling many of them could be won by a lollipop on their way into the voting booth.) But can we not loosen up a little? Do we have to fit the buttoned down stereotype that so many have of the GOP?
I hope Mitt Romney will show his true personality tonight. He seems like a genuinely nice guy with a good sense of humor. I hope that comes out in his speech, but I'm not holding my breath.